Both a divorce and a dissolution are legal options in Ohio to terminate a marriage but there are distinct differences between the two. Understanding divorce versus dissolution can help you decide which method of ending a marriage is appropriate for you and your soon-to-be former spouse.
Every divorce or dissolution brings with it a unique set of circumstances and variables. Domestic relations is a complex area of law that is extremely difficult, emotional and stressful to navigate on your own. If you make a mistake during the process it can cost you a considerable amount of time and money. Having an experienced domestic relations attorney on your side is a huge advantage.
Grounds for Divorce Vs Dissolution
A divorce is a formal legal complaint filed by a husband, a wife or a domestic partner in the domestic relations division of their local court system. Per Ohio divorce law, a divorce complaint must allege, and the party filing for the divorce must prove, at least one of the following legal grounds for a divorce:
- Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought.
- Willful absence of the adverse party for one year.
- Extreme cruelty.
- Fraudulent contract.
- Any gross neglect of duty.
- Habitual drunkenness.
- Imprisonment of the adverse party in a state or federal correctional institution at the time of filing the complaint.
- Procurement of a divorce outside this state, by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who procured it is released from the obligations of the marriage, while those obligations remain binding upon the other party.
- On the application of either party, when husband and wife have, without interruption for one year, lived separate and apart without cohabitation.
- Incompatibility, unless denied by either party.
In a dissolution, the husband and wife file a joint petition where both parties request the court to terminate the marriage and approve the separation agreement that they have prepared and agreed upon prior to filing their petition.
Just like a divorce complaint, a dissolution of marriage petition is filed in the domestic relations division of the local court. If there is no domestic relations division, the dissolution of marriage petition is filed in the general division of your local common pleas court.
In a dissolution of marriage the grounds for the dissolution are not an issue like they are for a divorce. As a result, the dissolution of marriage process reduces much of the time and expense associated with the divorce process.
What To Expect with a Divorce
With a divorce, there are typically controversial issues involved that make it a fight between a husband and a wife or between two domestic partners. Personal feelings and emotions can often times influence not only the divorcing couple but also their children (if any) as well as their families and friends. It’s not uncommon for people to choose sides and lose their impartiality. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side.
To file for a divorce in Ohio, one of the divorcing parties must be a resident of Ohio for at least 6 months and a resident of the county where the divorce complaint will be filed for at least 90 days.
Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, it is not quick nor is it easy. It takes time for the court system to process a divorce case.
Exactly how long will a divorce take? That is a difficult question to answer without knowing the specific details of your case and situation. However, it is not unusual for a divorce case to take a year or more. There are many variables involved with both the divorcing couple as well as the county court system where the divorce will be filed that influence the length of time it takes to finalize a divorce.
Discussing your case with an attorney who has extensive experience in the Ohio county where your divorce will be filed is invaluable to determine how long you can expect your divorce to take based on your unique circumstances. Attorney Jeff Hawkins has handled divorce cases in domestic relations courts throughout northeast Ohio.
What To Expect with a Dissolution
Obtaining a dissolution of marriage in Ohio means that the husband and the wife or the two domestic partners fully agree on every issue, both at the beginning of the dissolution and at the final hearing.
It is a no-fault divorce with a written separation agreement that is filed with the court when the dissolution case begins. A dissolution is based on a full disclosure of all assets and liabilities.
A dissolution will most likely be the most cost-effective form of ending a marriage, as long as the parties can work out all of the details, including property division, child support, spousal support (if any), shared parenting, and any other issue that may arise.
It is also the quickest and least emotionally painful way to terminate a marriage. The final hearing for a dissolution must take place within 90 days from the day of filing the petition. Because the terms of the dissolution are agreed to ahead of time, the heightened emotions associated with most divorces are avoided.
A lawyer can only represent one of the spouses, even if you already agree on everything. If your spouse has an attorney already, it is always better to have your own attorney look over the papers to protect your best interests both today and as you start your future life.